Steve Horwitz's The Calling

The Calling: Some Thoughts on Inequality

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Perhaps no other issue is so much in the forefront of political debate these days as inequality. Many commentators argue that one of the most damaging things happening in the United States is increasing inequality. Often this argument is tied to criticisms of markets, as if somehow free markets, or capitalism, are the cause of this supposed increase. It’s that ... [click for more]

The Calling: Why I Defend Walmart

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In the aftermath of Black Friday (or now Thursday, I guess), much will be written about Walmart.  It remains the favorite whipping boy of many on the left, not to mention their enablers in what Deirdre McCloskey calls “the Clerisy,” or what Hayek called “the second-hand dealers in ideas.”  More broadly, even those without strong left-leaning opinions often have ... [click for more]

The Calling: Are Libertarians Individualists?

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A young libertarian recently told me that, as an individualist, he thinks it strange that people identify with a religious or ethnic group as “part of their roots or culture.” For this young man, individualism apparently means rejecting all sorts of possible (voluntary) connections to others that might suggest that group identity is equal to, or even more important ... [click for more]

The Calling: Bumper-Sticker Political Economy

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If you live in a college town, it’s almost a certainty that you’ve seen a bumper sticker along these lines: “Live simply so that others may simply live.” That phrase has the advantage of sounding like it’s based on some underlying economic theory as well as expressing a kind of moral superiority because of its concern for the least ... [click for more]

The Calling: Public and Private Risk

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There’s nothing like a good Facebook debate to provide fodder for explaining core ideas in political economy. I recently expressed concern about the risks of a proposal in Oregon to allow students to pay for their education at state schools by having their postgraduation wages garnished by 3 percent for 24 years. In response, a friend asked ... [click for more]

The Calling: Markets Turn Waste into Want-Satisfaction

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A frequent criticism of markets is that private owners have every incentive to dump the waste byproducts of their production processes into the air, water, or land without concern about the harmful effects. More sophisticated critics understand the idea of negative externalities and love to jump up and down about how they demonstrate the need for government intervention. There ... [click for more]

The Calling: The Problem with Political Heroes and Villains

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It’s sometimes hard to tell the coverage of politics from the coverage of sports. People seem to root for political parties as though they were sports teams, cheering Team Red or Team Blue on to victory with the same passion they bring to the Super Bowl. Individual team members are followed with the same intensity as are star players ... [click for more]

The Calling: In Defense of Complex, Global, Fast Living

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In the wealthy Western world, many of the products we buy come from the far reaches of the earth, made by people we don’t know, with inputs about which we are ignorant. The increased number and variety of consumer products give us a range of choices that would boggle the minds of earlier generations. And technology enables us to ... [click for more]

The Calling: Back to the Future of Freedom

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As an economist, I am always more than happy to talk about how great the market is and to undertake the task of educating people on how markets work and why they are good. Certainly, one of the central concerns of the modern libertarian movement has been to extol the virtues of the market, especially the freed market. But ... [click for more]

The Calling: The Challenge of Undesigned and Anonymous Order

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The spontaneous order of the market has long been an object of both theoretical and aesthetic contemplation for libertarians. From Adam Smith’s discussion of the number of hands it took to make a wool coat, to Leonard Read’s justly famous “I, Pencil,” to the examples that fill Russ Roberts’s parable novel The Price of Everything, libertarians have ... [click for more]

The Calling: I Have Seen the Future of Freedom

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Even before I started writing regularly for The Future of Freedom Foundation, I had thought a lot about the future of freedom and how those of us who care deeply about liberty in all its dimensions are going to bring about the world we want to see. For the over 30 years I’ve been involved in the libertarian movement, ... [click for more]

The Calling: The Everyday Marvels of the Market

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Those of us who live in largely market-based economies can too easily take for granted what we might call the everyday marvels of the market. We find ourselves with things that would have amazed and mystified people just a couple of generations ago. If we think of the marvels the market delivers, we normally think of technology, but fancy ... [click for more]
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